Friday, April 13, 2012

Sarah Posner - Both Liberal and Conservative Catholics Cool It On Catholic Social Teaching Talk

U.S. Catholic folks did not seem to be fans of the United States Catholic Bishops new statement on religious liberty . See USCCB issues statement with multiple examples of how religious liberty is "under attack" by Meghan Murphy-Gill.

Yes I know that response and viewpoint is about as certain as death and taxes.

In that piece we read :

However, as Religion Dispatch’s Sarah Posner writes, “[T]he decisions of the courts are not respected by the Bishops, but rather dismissed out of hand as further evidence of discrimination against them.” (Sarah Posner’s been one of the few lucid voices criticizing the religious liberty claims. I recommend her RD post on the new religious liberty document.)  .

Well I am not going to comment that much on the Sarah Posner link. It's pretty misleading to say the least. But what about Sarah Posner being one of the most "Lucid voices"

I noted at U.S. Catholic nor among the Progressive Christians that like to quote Posner was there much discussion of her Salon piece today. I was disappointed in that because I was hoping such push back or questioning MIGHT give Posner a chance to clarify. See her piece Paul Ryan’s biblical bilge

Let me just talk about the Faith in the Public Square comments. First she informs us:

These disputes — particularly for a religion reporter like me — are the stuff of fascinating and illuminating stories on religious history, theology and political gamesmanship. In a pluralistic democracy, though, they have no place in determining the federal budget.


...No one’s religious view is entitled to preference when Congress is crafting the federal budget. To be sure, given the attention paid to the plight of the poor by the most prevalent religions in the United States, there are many politicians, and many citizens, whose faith would inform how they evaluate the priorities — or lack thereof — in the Ryan budget. At the same time, secular humanists, atheists, and other varieties of the non-religious also have a set of values on income and wealth inequality

Progressives and conservatives should duke it out — but without invoking religion. The budget should be based on shared concepts of fairness and justice, not whether Jesus or God or Allah (oh, never mind, the Republicans would never go for that!) approves...

...Liberals, for their part, have sought to counter Ryan with more religion. Last year, in a stunt staged at Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition conference, fellow Catholics confronted Ryan and tried to give him a Bible with passages on the poor highlighted. An anti-Ryan advertisement was critical of his admiration for Tea Party heroine Ayn Rand — not because of her cruelly libertarian views on economics, but because she was an atheist.

More recently, a coalition of Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders known as the Faithful Budget Campaign have pushed back against Ryan with their own Faithful Budget. The coalition says its “faithful” budget “protects the common good, values every individual and lifts the burden on the poor.” These are worthy goals, but shouldn’t be elevated merely because they have a religious imprimatur.

Surely it’s understandable that liberal Catholics are angry that Ryan is misrepresenting their faith to justify his punishing and heartless assault on his fellow Americans. They should — and they will — persist in protest, in discussion and in argument. But just as Ryan shouldn’t run to Cardinal Dolan for approval, or at least acquiescence, nor should liberals seek religious cover for their counter-proposals. Religious leaders and voters are free to have their say, but when it comes down to the rationale for defeating Ryan’s budget, it should be based on the economic realities of the people whose lives would be destroyed by it, coupled with a cogent case for the role of government, and not on theology.

It not clear to me why " secular humanists, atheists, and other varieties of the non-religious " that  "also have a set of values on income and wealth inequality" seem to have more leeway than Christian.

But according to President Obama and one of Europe's leading athiest, Posner is perhaps  putting an unfair burden on the RELIGIOUS FOLKS she reports on. See my post on that at How Religious and Secular Folks Should Talk To Each Other ( Obama and the Atheist )

It would have been interesting to see this debate among Progressive Christians as to Sarah Posner remarks. It would have been interesting to see Posner go more into her views. Especially since a certain writer at U.S. Catholics thinks she is one the more " lucid voices criticizing the religious liberty claims"  But it appears this is like one of those moments someone says something awkward at the dinner party. Just ignore , and move on.


Unknown said...

Wow... While I'm not a fan of Paul Ryan's politics, it seems that his statements have NOT run afoul of the sorts of religious issues liberals typically balk at.

The concern normally cited by liberals when it comes to people of faith in public life is "theocracy"... And theocracy IS a concern generally, sure...

But what Ryan appears to be doing is using biblical support for the reasoning behind his proposed budget. In other words, he is a person of faith whose faith has affected the actions he takes in his public life.

They can attack his budget, his politics, his priorities, but, well... I quit reading Religious Dispatches because they were a group of people of faith who seemed to dislike people of faith a lot.

James H said...

You are exactly right. I think there can be debate as to Catholic Social Teaching and THe Ryan budget but because people assume the worst intention it gos no where.

One reason why CST will never be taken seriously because the Catholics on both sides often act like that.